Theater Crossing Co-op
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily by Arthur Conan Doyle, adapted by Katie Forgette

Dates and Venue December 28 - January 10, 2015 at 8pm (plus Dec 28 Matinee at 2pm) | Jericho Arts Centre, 1675 Discovery Street

Director William B. Davis Set Design John R. Taylor Costume Design Rafealla Rabinovich Lighting Design Michael Methot Sound Design Brad Tidswell Stage Manager Walter Petryk

Reviewer John Jane

Katie Forgette’s original comedy borrows Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional characters: super sleuth Sherlock Holmes, his staunch sidekick Dr. John Watson and their antagonist Professor Moriarty. She then brings in real-life theatrical legends Lillie Langtry and Oscar Wilde and makes them central characters in a crime caper that involves Edward VII before his accession to the British throne.

Incorporating the characters of Langtry and Wilde invites the audience to accept the play as some sort of historical theatre, but while Seth Little is delightfully foppish as the famous playwright and Corina Akeson offers a convincing portrait of the charismatic actress, the events within the storyline (with the exception of Edward’s dalliance with the actor) are entirely undocumented.

The play begins with Holmes and Watson contemplating the day in their digs at 221B Baker Street. Enter Lillie Langtry who attempts to convince Holmes that she is applying for the position of his housekeeper. When the subterfuge fails, Oscar Wilde joins her in presenting the detective with what would seem to be a simple case of third-party blackmail. But when Sherlock Holmes’ extraordinary powers of deduction are availed, a much more sinister plot is surely predictable.

Brent Fidler works hard to put his own stamp on Conan Doyle’s famous detective, though the influence of Jeremy Brett who played Sherlock Holmes in the Granada Television series is unmistakable. Tim Bissett is appropriately gallant as Watson with just the right amount of camp. Alas, his role is underused in the second act. Bill Croft is suitably tongue-in-cheek as ‘a villain in a comedy’ Moriarty. I really liked Matt Loop and Mia Inglmundson; as Moriarty’s peons, they are more mischievous than villainous.

John R. Taylor’s split stage evokes time and place of Victorian London as well as providing distance between the Baker Street set and Langtry’s elegant living room. Rafealla Rabinovich’s clothing appears to be accurate for the period. Although, Abdul Karim’s (Zahf Paroo) full blown Sikh regalia seemed over the top even for late nineteenth century London.

Director William B. Davis (Cancerman from the X-Files’ television series) seemed to have got a smart response from an excellent cast who didn’t allow their characters to become caricatures. Davis also ensured that the play didn’t degenerate into an obvious satire.

© 2014 John Jane